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Blackhawks Weekly Preview — November 17, 2021: Kraken, McDavid and the Canucks

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks dismissed former head coach Jeremy Colliton on November 6 after a dreadful and lifeless performance from the team the night before in Winnipeg, and a 1-9-2 start to the season. Since then, the Blackhawks have been a perfect 3-0-0 under the new interim head coach, Derek King. But, after a nice four-day break, the Blackhawks hit the road for a four-game road trip that includes stops in Seattle, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary (next week).

Tonight the Blackhawks will visit the Seattle Kraken (4-10-1) for the first time, and let’s hope that this series with Seattle starts better than the last time the Blackhawks began playing an expansion team. When the Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL in 2017, the Blackhawks lost their first seven games against the Golden Knights and are 1-8 against the Knights in the regular season and 1-4 against the Knights in the playoffs.

After tonight’s meeting with the Kraken, it’s off to Canada for meetings with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers (11-4-0) on Saturday night and the Vancouver Canucks (5-9-2) on Sunday night.

One-Timers

•   The Blackhawks locker room has made it clear that they’re behind interim head coach Derek King and his message to play free and natural, but it’s hardly King’s new relaxed approach to the games that have the Blackhawks riding a three-game win steak into Seattle. Instead, as Mario illustrated on Tuesday, a resurgence in net has been the key to success for the Blackhawks since King replaced Jeremy Colliton.

• The Blackhawks rank 29th in the NHL in goals per game against at 3.40. That’s, uh, really bad. Only Ottawa (3.47), Seattle (3.67), and the Coyotes (3.81) fall behind them in that department. The silver lining? The Blackhawks get to play the Kraken and their 3.67 GA/GM tonight. With two teams in the bottom four of the NHL in GA/GM, goals will be scored; let’s hope the Blackhawks score more of them tonight.

•   The Blackhawks could get a much-needed boost to the defensive side of things with Caleb Jones in position to make his season debut at some point on this four-game road trip after missing the first 15 games of the season with a wrist sprain suffered near the end of the preseason.

Puck Drops and Broadcast Info

•   Blackhawks at Kraken— Wednesday, November 17 at 9:00 p.m. CT
TV: TNT
Radio: WGN 720 AM

•   Blackhawks at Oilers — Saturday, November 20 at 9:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH
Radio: WGN 720 AM

•   Blackhawks at Canucks — Sunday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH+
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Expected Blackhawks Lines

Blackhawks (4-9-2, 10 pts)

DeBrincat – Dach – Kane
Kubalík – Toews – Khaira
Hardman Strome Borgström
Kurashev – Carpenter – R. Johnson

de Haan – S. Jones
McCabe – Murphy
Stillman – Gustafsson

Fleury
Lankinen

Blackhawks Tale of the Tape

Powerplay
20.0% (T-12th)

Penalty-Kill
87.5% (T-3rd)

Faceoffs
49.2% (19th)

Goals Per Game
2.13 (30th)

Goals Against Per Game
3.40 (29th)

Top Scorers

Patrick Kane: 15 PTS (5 G, 10 A)
Seth Jones: 13 PTS (1 G, 12 A)
Alex DeBrincat: 10 PTS (8 G, 2 A)

Blackhawks Injury Report

Caleb Jones (Day-to-Day – Wrist)
Tyler Johnson (Day-to-Day – Non-Injury Related)
Brandon Hagel (Week-to-Week – Shoulder)
MacKenzie Entwistle (IR – Ankle)

Keep An Eye Out For

•   Unlike fellow recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Seattle Kraken have been pretty bad to open their inaugural NHL campaign. The Kraken rank in the bottom third of the league in most statistical categories, including goals against per game (3.67, 31st) and power-play percentage (10.9%, 31st). Seattle is a very beatable team for the Blackhawks, who would be well-served to secure two points against the Kraken before visiting Edmonton on Saturday night.

•   Connor McDavid and teammate Leon Draisaitl have been on another planet to open the season, totaling 62 points in 15 games. Draisaitl leads the league in scoring (33) and goals (17) and is fourth in assists with 16 apples. McDavid is second in the league in scoring with 29 points, ten goals, and league-best 19 assists. The Oilers as a team lead the league in scoring at an even four goals per game. This game has a chance of getting ugly.

•   Sunday’s meeting with the Canucks will be the second this season for the Blackhawks and Vancouver, with the Canucks topping the Blackhawks 4-1 on October 21 at the United Center. A first-period power-play goal by Alex DeBrincat was all the offense that the Blackhawks could generate against Thatcher Demko and the Canucks. Demko stopped 29-of-30, and the Blackhawks defense was not very good on that night. If you’d like to read more about that game, I broke it down here.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.